Posted: 11 February 2007 09:31 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I want to inspire people to the last line of kittymobile’s I Wonder.  I recognize the dearth of this sentiment as I explained in my comment.  I have to assume that when I remind others that I like to open my own eyes and question myself as much as possible, I’m multiplying our opportunities to grow and learn.

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Posted: 14 February 2007 07:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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“Maybe, I’m the one who needs to open my eyes to see”
- “I wonder” by kittymobile
Indeed, this is an eye-opening line.

I wrote this some years ago and believe it to be relevant to How the Details get Lost: “Anything can be proven by leaving out the right facts.”
Using examples to prove something is an invalid approach.  It is, however, the way the world operates.  Politicians use it, marketing uses it.  In fact, anyone who wants something from us manipulates us as best they can.  With so many influential people around us who spent their lives researching and practicing to deceive us, how can we possibly ever know the truth?  “Cogito ergo sum”... this means so much more than just “I think, therefore I am.”  It means that we cannot know anything, that we cannot trust anyone.  It also means that we can believe anything we want, since there is no proving or disproving anything.  Ultimate freedom.  Isn’t this great!  Remember X-Files’ “I want to believe”?  Okay, so the reason why the details get lost is because generalization is supposed to be the average of all details and thus more accurate, if you would pardon my math.  Statistics 101.  The more samples (details) used to calculate a statistical value (the generalization), the more accurate the value.  However, if you take a lot of exceptions and perform statistics on it, you would get an invalid generalization.

What I have chosen to believe is that the world can work in one of two ways.  Everyone could be selfish and compete for the best.  This idea does have a way of balancing itself.  Vendors will lower their prices in order to compete with each other, so their selfishness makes them seem less selfish to the buyers.  I know… using examples is supposed to be an invalid approach.  I will explain in a bit why I believe examples are sometimes valid.  This is the world we live in.  I call this evil.  Alternatively people could serve each other and be as efficient with resources as they can.  Such a system is balanced by nature.  Those who are aware of their karma will be good to other people, for it will eventually return to them.  Unfortunately most people’s awareness only goes as far as “If I hit him, he will hit me back.” 

So to summarize this idea, one could either always think of other people first and then karma will be good to you.  Or you could think of yourself first, in which case you still have to be good to other people before good will come to you.  The outcome will be different, though.  Since our awareness of the extent of our actions is limited (we like thinking short term), thinking of ourselves first will generally make us take benefit in expense of the group.  If we think of others first, will will sacrifice ourselves for the group.  A beehive is a great example.  Conditioning makes us more efficient because we can make decisions faster.  We must either condition ourselves for good or for bad.

So the factor that determines whether an example is valid or not, is intention.  If I intend to cheat you, don’t trust my examples.  But if I am using an example because I intend to convey an honest idea, please do trust them.  Of course there is no way you can certainly know what my intentions are, but you can know your own!  There are many ways through a forest and your intentions determine which you will take.  Do you want to steal all the fruit or plant a few extra trees?

It seems that having good and bad together is disastrous, since the good will give all and the bad will consume it.  This is exactly what is happening right now.  The earth is giving and we are consuming.

In an evil, selfish system like ours, if the homeless would be helped, we would all decide not to work (because someone would help us out) and then everything would collapse.  I believe this is what happens in communist countries.  Only when we have ascended to a higher consciousness and understanding will this work.

The extent of this concept is vast and perhaps a bit difficult to summarize like this.  Hey, I could even be wrong.

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Posted: 14 February 2007 10:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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This is the world we live in.  I call this evil.  Alternatively
people could serve each other and be as efficient with resources as they
can.  Such a system is balanced by nature.

What you call evil is, as you point out, the world we live in.  Using your definition, I am certainly evil, and I wish everyone else would be as well.  But I don’t think that ‘evil’ is a good term for what you describe.  I think ‘selfish’ is a much better term.  It isn’t close, in my thinking, to genocide, taxation, or hunting for the easily deceived, which are things I consider evil.  I suppose hunting for the easily deceived is a kind of selfishness, but like most things I detest, it is short-sighted.

So the factor that determines whether an example is valid or not, is
intention.  If I intend to cheat you, don’t trust my examples.  But if I am
using an example because I intend to convey an honest idea, please do trust
them.  Of course there is no way you can certainly know what my intentions
are, but you can know your own!

I like what you wrote about trust.  I subscribe to the theory of not trusting anyone.  I do consider certain people trustworthy though, and my behavior reflects a certain trust in them.  This is because I recognize the risk and I am willing to take it.  To trust in the way that your analysis uses the term is to ignore risk.  I will not decide to trust you based on your intentions.  I simply won’t trust you.  But I will pay attention to the risks of behaving as though what you tell me is true - and likewise the risks of behaving as though it isn’t true.

Anyway, I think you were talking about other people, and it is a good point that they will trust (listen to) me if they believe I have intentions that are good.  Well, actually, it is if they believe that I have intentions that are good for them.

In an evil, selfish system like ours, if the homeless would be helped, we
would all decide not to work (because someone would help us out) and then
everything would collapse

People are selfish (it is an evolved trait, I believe), and often short-sighted, as you point out.  Of course, the short-sighted, seeing the opportunity to be cared for without working, will stop working.  But would you?  How evil and selfish would everyone have to be for you to stop having a job and live on dole?  How unselfish can you be and still keep yourself alive?  You’ve chosen selfishness as the stand-in for something we both rejected (I like to think we rejected it because we think so much) - evil.  I’ve chosen stupidity, which is definitely not an evolved trait.  I think some vendors (check the stories about CraigsList) keep their prices low because they like the reputation it gets them, the popularity, the progress.  I think some people are very stupidly selfish, but others are very wisely selfish.  Still others are not selfish at all and they serve and give to those around them all the time.  I am happiest with the wisely selfish.  It is easy to see what they want, and what they can give to me, so we trade and build relationships.  People who are too unselfish become unreliable and you can never tell what you can offer them to get something in return.

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Posted: 16 February 2007 05:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I am enjoying this discussion…

Well, every word means something different to every person.  I absolutely agree that the things you named are worse than most.  However, I also believe that those things are the result of selfishness.  The government is selfish, so they tax you.  Nations are selfish, so they nuke each other.  Business people are selfish, so they deceive you. 

Of course my idea is based on an idealistic world where everyone can be trusted.  In this world trust is a gray zone.  Some people should be trusted less than others.  I definitely trust people less than most other people do. 

I agree that selfishness is a product of evolution, but I believe that it will all change in the future.  The Mayans wrote that we develop consciousness.  Consciousness is followed by reason.  Reason is overcome by law.  Law by power, power by ethics, ethics by conscious co-creation.  So if they were right, we will ascend to a new understanding of the world.

I like your example of trading, but I do not classify it as selfish.  Selfishness (in my definition) must be detrimental to the other party.  Trading and sharing is great.  I will agree that living an unselfish life in this world will not be very satisfying.  I do however believe that we are both moving in the direction of good/unselfishness/truth/sharing.  That is what litmocracy is all about, right?  A NON-PROFIT group that SHARES ideas in pursuit of the TRUTH.  I believe it is a step towards our next ascension.  Okay, I’m starting to sound crazy, so I’ll stop now.  raspberry

Um… one question Dave… how do you define evil?

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Posted: 18 February 2007 09:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Cyber - 16 February 2007 09:13 PM

Selfishness (in my definition) must be detrimental to the other party.

Then we need a word which simply means “not altruistic”.  I use the word “selfish” to mean “not altruistic”, so it’s easy for me to say that selfish behavior can benefit others.  It is actually a crucial point in most of my thinking that wisely selfish behavior is nearly always beneficial to others.  We are social creatures, after all.

Cyber - 16 February 2007 09:13 PM

Um… one question Dave… how do you define evil?

The way I use the word, it means “intentions that I think nearly all the people I love would detest if they understood them.”  I usually try to avoid using it though, because most people think of it as an objective qualifier of actions and sometimes even people.  I think the insinuation of objectivity built in to the term is unfortunate and I wish to avoid it as much as I can.

Do you think a person who is a match to a friend who needs a kidney but decides not to give up a kidney is evil?  I would call the decision (and the person) selfish, but not evil.

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Posted: 24 February 2007 04:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Yes, I absolutely get your point.  Benefiting ourselves by helping others.  Sharing. 

I do not think a person who would not like to have his kidney removed is evil.  If he did have his kidney removed, it would be a loss to him.  Here I would definitely agree that this is selfish, but not evil.  I would understand perfectly if someone refused to hand over his kidney to me.

I’ll tell you what’s evil.  Banks that lend out 10 times more money than they have and charging interest on it!

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Posted: 24 February 2007 05:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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You mean because that makes too many people feel like they’re wealthy and so they stop producing, and then necessary resources like healthcare and time to spend with children become really scarce and prices start going up and then hyperinflation kicks in and destroys society?

But if it happens slowly enough and no one notices, doesn’t that make it ok? wink

Hmm… Yeah, I guess you’re right.  That is a good example of evil.

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Posted: 24 February 2007 05:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Hmm… I haven’t even thought about that one, but that sure is a factor.  I was rather referring to the fact that the banks may legally lend out more money than they have, but when we do it, it would be a crime.

Btw. I love your Hitchhiker’s Guide logo.  I should start practicing that.

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